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What are Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) clinics and services?

Some families may be surprised to learn there are Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) teams in about 100 BC communities. CYMH is run by the BC Government.

CYMH provides a range of mental health assessment and treatment options at no cost for children and youth (ages 18 and younger) and their families. This may include counselling, social work, parenting supports, and psychiatric services.  

You do not need an appointment or referral to use the drop-in intake clinics.

Step 1:

Find your local CYMH office and hours by using the drop down box to locate your community. They are open to new individuals at certain times. Check what their intake clinic hours are for your location.

While all CYMH teams provide services to Indigenous children, youth and their families, they also have a listing of Indigenous CYMH services by area. These organizations work specifically with Indigenous families and can be contacted directly. 

Step 2:

Take your child during the specific drop-in days and hours, with their BC Services Card/CareCard. You will likely be able to see someone that day for an intake interview to see if services would be a good fit for your child. It is important to call the office ahead of time before you go to a clinic, as many of the hours on the website are not current.

  • Children 12 and older can go to the drop-in intakes without their parents or guardian, if preferred.
  • If you are not sure or it is a challenge to bring your child, or can’t attend on drop-in days, call and ask to speak to an intake worker so they can help you with a plan.
  • Call ahead to ask about options for children under 5 years. Some clinics will see children 5 and younger, but in some communities there are other service options for early childhood mental health.  

After the intake interview, you will be provided information about the next steps and what to expect in the process. There is often a waitlist for treatment and support services. It is a good idea to get on the waitlist, because CYMH is a way to get “into the system” so your child can receive services, including other community-based services. Once on the waitlist, if you child continues to do poorly or behaviours increase, you can call the CYMH office regularly to update them. CYMH waitlists are a triage system so if they know that you are in urgent need of services, it can move you up the waitlist.

Featured Resource:

What to Expect from CYMH Services

Mental Health and Wellness Resources and Supports

CYMH Information & Resources Toolkit

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